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|By Nathan Miranda||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Nathan Miranda||Various/Writing Competition||PG-13||Positive||None|
Round 1: Air
The winner of Round 1 was TAD. Here are the other entries:
Gyatso soon found Monk Tashi, who was walking casually.
"Tashi!" cried Gyatso. "We have a problem! The Fire Nation is invading the temple!"
Tashi then turned around, a somewhat shocked but casual look on his face.
"Where are they?" he asked.
"Outside, through the curtains! But there's about a thousand Firebenders! We need to find Pasang, Mamblo, and Liung before going there." Gyatso answered.
"Very well," Tashi said, "but let's hope we get back in time."
Gyatso and Tashi both opened up their gliders and flew through the temple to the meeting room. Once they got there, Gyatso quickly ran in.
"Pasang! Mamblo! Liung! There are Firebenders waiting for us through the curtains outside! They're going to destroy us all if we don't protect ourselves!"
Pasang rose up. "Mamblo. Liung. Rise, get on your gliders, and fly with me outside." he instructed.
The other two monks did so. "Come on, Gyatso and Tashi. Let's go show these Firebenders why they shouldn't have come here in the first place."
Then Pasang, Tashi, and Gyatso flew off. Once they made it to the area where the Firebenders were, the monks made air shields. They walked into the room. The Firebenders started attacking. Mamblo was quickly down. Then, after about 5 minutes, so was Liung. Tashi, Pasang, and Gyatso stayed alive for 5 hours, but they were no match for the comet-enhanced Firebending the Firebenders had. Tashi couldn't bend anymore. The moment he stopped bending, he was struck by a fireball and laying on the ground. Pasang and Gyatso stood their ground.
The Air Nomad kids, not being masters, had died before the elder monks even got to the Firebenders. So all that was left of the Air Nomads were Pasang and Gyatso. About half of the Firebenders had gone down, as well. But Pasang and Gyatso were still outnumbered. Pasang stopped his bending for a second, and, just like Pasang, was killed on the spot.
Now Gyatso was the only one left in the Southern Air Temple. Gyatso, furious of seeing the four elder monks dead, did a huge blast of air at the Firebenders. Half of them hit the hard wall, dying. Gyatso figured this was the perfect way to do it. So he did it again.
Almost all of the Firebenders were dead now. All except one. The Firebender through a fireball at Gyatso. Gyatso made it vanish. The the Firebender started generating lightning. Gyatso couldn't believe it! It was going to be over for him now! Gyatso knew this, and let the lightning hit him. With Gyatso's last breath, he made a big air gust, killing the last Firebender. Gyatso knew there were still Firebenders that lived in other places. He also knew that all the Air Nomads were dead. Aang had not returned. Gyatso figured he probably died in the storm.
Gyatso died, electrocuted, crying because the Air Nomads were now gone.
Monk Gyatso watched in terror as the Fire Nation soldiers began throwing fire balls at the buildings in the Air Nomad temple. Lifting himself off the ground with an air ball, he hurried to find the other members of the Council of Elders. What could they do now? Gyatso made it to the home of the Council of Elders. Monk Tashi was meditating, when Gyatso stormed into the building.
"Gyatso." Tashi said. "This had better be important."
"A thousand pardons, sir, but we are under attack! The Fire Nation has made it to our temple!", yelled Gyatso, clearly weakened from his long trek to him.
"What? How is this possible? The Fire Nation could only reach this temple if they had sky bison! Gyatso, there is no way you can be right", said Tashi.
Gyatso pointed to the window to show Tashi the flames flying out in the front of the Air Temple. Tashi quickly grew fearful.
"Gyatso, I am sorry I doubted you. In the meantime, I know we are sworn to be peaceful, bit we will have to attack them. There are too many lives at stake."
"We must protect our lives and people at this point. I agree, Tashi. Assemble a force of as many benders as you can. We have to hold them off."
Gyatso and Tashi quickly tracked down their fellow Councilmen and worked to assemble a team of Airbenders to defend against the quickly charging Firebenders and Fire Nation Army. The force was not heavily organized, but it would have to get the job done. Some were resistant to fight because of their morals. Eventually, most of the elite Airbenders were gathered. However, their gusts of wind were no match for the ruthless army of Firebenders.
Slowly but surely, Gyatso's Army began to dwindle in quantity. The Fire Nation tanks continued to climb up the Air Temple, removing anything in their paths -- whether they be trees, structures, or humans. Gyatso realized time was not long. He decided to retreat to his tent to meditate. The monk thought of all the regrets in his life, including not being able to reach Aang before he ran off to whatever new life he was going to lead. He wondered if the rest of the Air Nomads at the other temples would survive. Gyatso was very fearful. Suddenly, the mighty Firebenders approached his tent. He was outnumbered at least 20 to 1, but he would not let himself be in vain. He didn't want to leave with such a regret. So he attacked once more. He took down a few, but their attacks were too much. The monk was burned severely, and soon was barely alive. A Fire Nation officer decided to put him out of his misery with a fireball, burning his skin to a near point of no recognition. Gyatso quietly passed away without any further movement.
The very little remaining Airbenders were killed. After this, the Fire Nation soldiers sealed their victory with a slow burn of what was still untouched.
The commanding officer assembled his forces in front of the fire, and yelled, "Gentlemen! This is only the beginning! Today, we have notched the first victory in the name of Fire Lord Sozin! This air temple now burns! Let us take to the North! Soon, all the air temples will meet this fate, and we will have wiped out the Avatar, wherever he may be! This world will then meet this fate! The will of Sozin will be filled, as we make this world fall in fire! "
The soldiers cheered loudly. They then exited the Southern Air Temple and continued their genocidal attacks on the other temples. It seemed as though the last hope for the world was gone.
The Avatar was likely dead.
Or was he?
Till Death Does Them Part
"Come on, Sonam!"
The Airbender groans, still groggy with sleep. "What . . . what's going . . . what's going on?" he mumbles, putting the pillow over his head. A hand reaches out and shakes him; the boy raises his head to see his brother. "What do you want, Anil?"
Anil grasps Sonam's forearm and jerks him roughly out of the bed. "Don't you hear the warning bells? The Temple's under attack!"
"What?" Sonam grumbles. "I don't hear any—"
The Airbender stares into the dark gray eyes of his older sibling. "Oh spirits, Anil—what—?"
Muttering a quick prayer to the air spirits, Anil tosses Sonam's glider, and Sonam gratefully catches it. "Fire Nation. They've surrounded us." The former moves to the door.
"But Monk Gyatso'll save us!" he cries, following Anil. "He can take anything."
Anil's subsequent gaze is one of utmost hopelessness. "I wish. Come on. The kids are supposed to flee. Some of the others have already—"
A much older monk flies past the doorway, sparing a moment to yell, "Move!" before disappearing down the hall. Sonam's footsteps are light and almost undetectable as he makes his way to the nearest exit.
"Brothers?" the younger brother murmurs.
"Till death does us part," answers Anil.
Nodding, the younger Airbender presses forward, passing through several hallways, wincing at the clanging, at the screams of torture, at the sound of fire just behind the corner.
Sonam moves, swiftly more, urgently. His heart pounds, louder and louder, until the sounds of battle seem distant, far away. The blood rushes through it, and crimson flickers at the corner of vision; his panting breaths seem to tear at his lungs.
Are those tears in his eyes?
He cannot tell.
Something crimson flickers at the corner of his vision again, but this time it glows with oranges bright and yellows deep.
Flames lick at the floor, and then it gives way. Sonam screams, but a sphere of air cushions his fall.
Anil is front of him, as are a multitude of Fire Nation soldiers, their spikey uniforms like spears of death, the black and crimson illuminated in the inferno.
The brothers are alone in the hallway.
Alone, except for the depraved fire monsters before them.
Anil begins to Airbend, but a flower of death blooms, blossoms, and consumes.
Sonam's eyes grow wide with horror at the charred skeleton that collapses to the ground.
He lifts his head to gaze at the face of his attacker.
He is shocked.
A young boy.
With kind eyes.
A pleasant smile.
Courage in his heart.
Now twisted up in anger, fear, and hate.
The soldier raises his hand, and a single ember glows in his palm.
Sonam makes a soft noise in his throat.
"Please, we are brothers," he begs.
The boy hesitates.
"Brothers," Sonam says again.
But the soldier inhales, and the fire comes.
Till death does them part.
They won't stop until they find the Avatar, and he is long gone! "Pasang! What are we to do?" screamed Monk Gyatso.
"It is not our nature to kill. Though if we don't we will all die." he said, calmly.
"So... what are we going to do?"
"We must either surrender, or fight"
"If we fight, we will be going against what we believe in."
"Let us, surrender. Gracefully."
Monk Gyatso went to find Tashi, to tell him what he had discussed with Pasang. Tashi agreed with this, though he was not sure. If they did surrender, the Fire Nation would see that the Avatar is not there, so they'd look further which would put Aang in grave danger. But if the were to fight, they would have a much more painful death. Monk Gyatso, along with the Council of Five stood amongst the rest of the Air Nomads.
"We surrender!" he yelled.
"Good. Good. Now, which one of you is the Avatar?"
"Well, about that... the Avatar ran away"
"You're lying! Kill them all!"
Thousands of Fire Nation soldiers cam rushing towards them. Five deaths occurred every five seconds. Monk Gyatso looked around as his friends and family were murdered. He watched the blood poor out as they dropped to the floor. He watched the tears of small children losing their Mothers.
He watched the soldier in front of him, as he was stabbed.
First the smoke came, rolling nearer in heavy, hazy clouds polluting the crisp air about the temple. The Monks had seen the ashes fall on the horizon, and had expected firebenders to be close behind. They never dreamed an attack like this would ever sweep through so violently.
Soon the darkened sky was ablaze with the flickering flaming masses being hurled at the Air Nomad temple. Men, women, and children alike scattered in an attempt to flee from the fires and destruction. There was more smoke than air to breathe, and the smallest were the first to collapse. Monk Gyatso watched in horror as a young mother fell to her knees beside her husband's burning corpse. Voices could barely be made out over the sound of explosions as another round of shots began hitting their targets.
The Monks rushed about retrieving any living bodies they could find and had begun to pack everyone left into the heart of the temple. A tower crumbled as one of Aang's classmates glanced over his shoulder. Inside the deepest parts of the temple quickly overflowed with injured and terrified people.
There was nowhere left to hide. A few brave men dared to stand and fight, but they were as brave as they were foolish and were cut down. Some had lost hope, and hurled themselves from the edge of their home.
Suddenly, all was silent.
Had the attack ended?
The remaining survivors were few; the Council of Elders among them. Not a soul dared venture from the safety of the temple now, and together they sat still for what seemed to be an eternity. Footsteps could be heard nearby.
Could it be another survivor?
Someone went to the door, and made the mistake of allowing their haven to be breached.
Three of them.
The whole room went up in flames as screaming civilians writhed and turned to ash. Monk Gyatso shed a final tear and wished for the safety of his favorite disciple.
"My boy, where ever you are, know that you will never be alone. Do not let anger cloud your vision, do not allow your feelings to take control of your actions. Remember that I will always.."
The darkness fell before he had a chance to finish his thoughts.
More soldiers arrived and soon the attack ended just as quickly as it came. The entire temple's population had been exterminated. All but one. The Fire Nation easily began to snatch up other villages, and then giant cities as it grew more and more powerful.
The world fell into a long war, until the one day a boy in an iceberg would wake.
The winner of round 2 was Sirius 13. Congratulations!
'Moon Beam '
"Katara! Katara! What is wrong? Why did you faint?" screamed Aang as Katara awoke from a deep sleep.
"Ehh – " she stuttered.
"Katara, everything will be okay! I heard what happened," said Sokka as he entered the room.
"Stop! Let her breathe!" screamed Aang as he gripped onto her as if she was about to die.
"H – H – Help" she said as she tried to get up.
Aang took her up and laid her on the bed nearby.
"What's wrong, Katara?"
"I – I – I'm so tired. I can't sleep."
"Just breathe, Katara. There is no need to worry anymore. We are here now. You'll be safe"
"It was so sudden. I didn't see it coming."
"I'm going to stay with you until you have the baby. No one will be able to attack you anymore, while you're like this."
"Wait, what are you guys talking about? Who attacked her?" said Sokka, very confused.
"It was... It was... Long Feng came... he attacked me. I don't know what he wanted," she said.
"I wonder... All I know is that when I came home I saw her lying on the floor."
"Why did you leave her alone? She is pregnant. She is helpless. How could you be so stupid?"
"I'm not stupid. And, Katara is not helpless. If you have a problem with the way I'm taking care of her, then why don't you?"
"Because I have better things to do!"
"Then why are you here?"
"Stop... stop fighting..."
"I'm sorry Katara," said Aang "Sokka is just leaving."
Aang and Sokka stepped out of the room. Sokka was furious that Aang was taking control of Katara, and everything. He didn't want to be around them so he left. Aang then went to get a glass of cold water, for Katara to drink. He thought about why Long Feng was here earlier. He must have been very old, what did he want? If only they knew...
Aang and Katara have been married. After a few years of their marriage, Katara becomes pregnant. However, three months before the delivery, a problem arises.
Setting: Southern Water Tribe
22 November, 106 AG, 07:00
Aang arose from his sleep, having been well-rested. However, when he wakes up, he notices that Katara is still asleep. Hmmm...she's usually awake by now to get things ready. Odd. Maybe's she just a little tired. These past few weeks of pregnancy have been tough.
With his wife sleeping, Aang decided to take breakfast into his own hands. He prepared fruit and some juice. He stepped outside and felt the bitter cold air. Nothing new for the Water Tribes. He had his ration of breakfast. To his worry, about another hour passed, and Katara was still not awake. He decided to go upstairs to check on her. That's when he noticed that she was not herself.
"Hey, Katara...wake up, honey." The Avatar tried to get his wife to rise. Slowly, Katara rolled over and began to speak, which a clearly sick voice. "Aang....I am not well. I think I caught something overnight. I feel...warm, and also stuffed up."
The now-concerned Aang said, "How do you think you may have gotten it?" Katara was not entirely sure. It may have been when she was out the other day, she was out without a coat for an extended time. She may have gotten a cold, or possibly the flu. Aang decided not to wait any further. He quickly asked of her, "Where can I find cures?" Katara replied, "Aang...if you go to Yugoda's tent, she has all the natural herbs and whatnot. I'm sure she has what I need. Look for...lilies, and island berries from Whale Tail. From what I hear, that works best."
The Avatar did not hesitate. "I will be back as soon as possible, Katara. I will ensure you have what you need." He tried to give his wife a kiss on the cheek, but she stopped him, saying "I don't want you to get this yourself. It's not fun." Aang simply rubbed his hand on her head, feeling the fever she encountered. He then hugged her, and went out to the village.
About 20 minutes later, Aang returned with the needed supplies. He mixed them together and fed them to Katara. "Yugoda does say this is the most effective cure for what you have, Katara. It should help your fever come down some by midday." His wife took the cure down, and went back to sleep. Aang also brought up some cool water and placed it on her forehead. Afterwards, he went back to the living room. With his wife sick, Aang took care of some of the housework for the next couple of hours. While doing so, he thought about how it would be like to be a father. Little did he know, things were about to get worse...
Aang dozed off for a little while in the late morning. He woke up just after midday. He called for his wife, but, no response came. So, he returned upstairs to his and Katara's room. He noticed that Katara was still asleep.
"Katara, wake up, honey." He tapped his wife on the shoulder. However, she did not awaken. He continued to try and get her attention. However, nothing.
He noticed that she was not conscious, and that her fever had actually gotten worse. "Oh, spirits, what have I done! I fell asleep...I forgot about her!" His eyes began to tear for his severely sick wife. "I have to get her on the move somewhere."
He quickly ran outside their home and make it to Sokka's place of residence, where him and his wife, Suki, were residing with their child. "Sokka! Suki! Anyone!"
Sokka quickly rushed down the stairs to see the Avatar. "Is everything okay, Aang?" he asked to his clearly concerned brother-in-law.
"It's....Katara. She's very sick, Sokka. I woke up this morning and..." he was talking quite fast and was out of breath. "Aang, slow down, take a deep breath, because I can't understand what you're saying", said Sokka. After Aang took a minute to catch his breath, he gave his story. "I woke up this morning, and Katara was sick. She had a cold, and was running a fever. So I tried to bring a cure for her, island berries and natural herbs. I gave her the cure. I fell asleep for a little bit afterwards, and went back to see her. Then I realized she actually got worse. She wouldn't respond to me, Sokka. She's really sick. I think I made a mistake, because I fell asleep without knowing."
As the Avatar finished his story, Sokka put his hand on his shoulder and said, "Aang, don't worry too much. You tried to give her the cure, and for some reason it didn't work. So now, we should probably go see Yugoda, and maybe she can help." The two prepared to head out into the village. Sokka kissed Suki goodbye and gave their child a hug as well. The two made it to the main healing hut, where Aang was just a few short hours ago. The hut was set up when the Northern healers made it to the South as part of the rebuilding process begun after the war. Yugoda was in charge of it. The Avatar and his brother-in-law entered the tent, each with concerned looks on their faces. "Avatar Aang, is everything okay?" the elderly healer asked.
"I'm afraid not, Yugoda", said Aang.
"Katara's not well at all. He told me that she is not even responding to him, and her fever's gotten worse." Sokka finished Aang's story.
Yugoda was stunned. "I don't get this. That cure has worked well for a common cold. Unless it's...oh...no...this can't be! Aang, take us to your home, now!"
"What is---" Aang tried to speak, but Yugoda cut him off and told him to get a move on.
Aang, Sokka, and Yugoda quickly made it to Aang and Katara's home.
14:00, Aang and Katara's house
They all ran upstairs to Katara, who was going in and out of consciousness. Yugoda realized what she saw. "I saw this 15 years ago at the North Pole. It is a significant sickness. It comes with a high fever and great fatigue. Also, yes, I did see people who were unconscious. The outbreak lasted weeks, it was awful. Quite a few people died. Avatar Aang, your wife's life, and the life of your incoming child may be in jeopardy."
Tears ran down Aang's cheek. "Katara..."
Sokka quickly asked Yugoda what they could do. "We have to get her to the healing hut as soon as possible. There is a cure we can work for this. However, it's not going to be easy. We will need our best healers. Aang, Sokka, I'm going to get a cot for her. You'll have to help me move her."
The elderly healer left to fetch the cot. Meanwhile, the brothers-in-law stood outside the bedroom. Aang was clearly in a deep state of sadness, wondering why he was unable to catch it sooner. "Aang, you can't blame yourself for this..." the brother of his wife tried to cheer him up.
"Sokka, she's my wife...your sister...I should have been ready for this possibility..." The Avatar was beyond comfort. "Aang, you didn't know it would get this bad. I know you're always looking out for her. Besides, Yugoda said that she can be cured. It's going to be alright, man. I would want no one else but you being with her. You make her happy. It was a mistake. You can't beat yourself up over mistakes; we all make them. Now, let's get ready to help Yugoda." Sokka moved downstairs after saying this.
"You're right, Sokka. What's happened has happened, now we have to do all we can to fix it. To save my wife, your sister, and mine and her child."
15 minutes later
Yugoda arrived with a cot, good enough to move Katara on. Aang and Sokka lifted her on to the cot. The two each took a handle on the cot, and they went out of the door, Yugoda holding it for them.
"This way!" The elderly healer signaled them to the healing hut. They made it within a few minutes.
At the healing huts, Katara was placed in an isolated ward to keep the sickness from spreading throughout. Yugoda and 3 other nurses walked in to examine her and determine the proper cure plan, while also working to save the child on the way.
"Ladies, we have quite a situation here." Yugoda was speaking to her counterparts. "She has that disease, that, as you may recall, spread through the North around 91 AG." One nurse was stunned. "How did that get down here?"
"I do not know. However, we have two problems. The young lady, and she is also pregnant. I recall that someone lost a baby-to-be due to this disease. We have to save the child, too."
"Wait a moment...she...is...the Avatar's wife!" A second female nurse realized.
"Yes, this is Katara, also the daughter of Chief Hakoda. I actually taught her healing skills myself, about 7 years ago, in the North. That's not important though. We have to try and heal her."
Outside the ward -- 15:30
Aang and Sokka, with worry, continued to wait outside. Suki met her husband some 30 minutes ago, to provide support.
"Suki, thank you, but I think Aang needs the support the most." The son of Hakoda begged to his warrior wife.
The Avatar said, "Sokka, really, it's okay. She's your wife, and Katara is your sister. Suki can support you here."
"I am very sorry to hear about this, Aang. I hope she pulls through. It seems you two are so happy together, and I can tell you are excited to become a father. The spirits are behind you, I can tell. Everything will be fine." Suki tried her best to give support to Aang. He offered his thanks to her.
Hours were ticking away. The nurses shuffled in and out, with various tools and medications. They were working as hard as they can. They soon realized, after doing all their work with Waterbending and other cures, it was time to call it for the day. The disease was a 1-3+ day thing.
"Aang, Sokka, Suki, I would like to inform you that we've done all we could. However, this is an overnight or possibly more, situation. I've had seen this before. It sometimes takes a couple days for everything to kick in. However, in the case of your child, you're going to have to hope this clears overnight. Don't go inside, though, this is a contagious disease", Yugoda said to the three.
"Okay Yugoda, we are clear." Sokka said to her.
"Wow...well, thank you for all could do Yugoda. I am thankful for your work. Looks like a long night ahead." The Avatar, after saying this, began to tear up, fearing he would lose the child, or even worse, Katara herself.
As they left the hut, Aang looked in on his wife. "I'm sorry Katara...for not catching this sooner..."
Sokka again placed his hand on Aang's shoulder for support. "Aang, if you want to, you can stay with me and Suki tonight."
"It's alright, Sokka. I'll be fine for the night", Aang said.
"If you want, you can join us for dinner", Suki further offered.
"Okay, I would like that. I'm not the best chef", Aang slightly chuckled.
22:00 -- Aang and Katara's house
Aang enjoyed the feast he shared with Sokka, Suki, and their child. He returned to his home after the sun set that night. His normal bed was taken away so the infectious germs could be cleaned off it. He elected to sleep on the couch. He was very nervous about his wife and child-to-be. He didn't know what to think. He didn't know if his wife would be okay. He didn't know if his child would make it.
Suddenly, a bright light shone into the living room. Aang ventured outside to see what it was. A bright light was cast down to the healing huts. A tired Aang looked at where it was coming from. It seemed to be from the moon. However, he could not make it out properly. He saw a spirit...a woman. The spirit appeared to be Yue. She looked back and all she said was "Avatar...your wife will be fine. I promise you. You saved the world. It's our turn to save what is close to you." The spirit smiled at Aang as she departed.
Aang didn't know if he was tired and was thus, dreaming. However, moments later, he fell asleep. He didn't know what to make of his image. Was it right, or was it just a dream? He was the Avatar, he didn't know for sure. He always had weird visions in his dreams and active times, from Yue, to past Avatars, to other spirits. Did Yue save his wife? Yue had the seemingly same abilities of healing, given she was a Waterbender now, having the moon spirit infused within.
08:00, 23 November
Aang woke up the next morning later than usual. All the worry with Katara and his child had tired him out, so thus he wound up with a longer sleep. He was hoping what he saw the previous night was real, with Yue trying to use her spiritual abilities to heal Katara.
He wasted no time making his way to Yugoda's healing huts. However, he noticed that, when he got to the ward where Katara was, she was not there. A moment of great fear and worry came over him as his wife was now apparently missing. Yugoda made her way over to the Avatar. "Avatar Aang, good morning. A lot happened to your wife overnight."
Aang said, "Where is she?"
Yugoda replied, come over to the main healing ward. You will find her."
At the main ward, the best sight he was hoping for...was there. He saw Katara, awake and drinking tea. Her fever had come way down, and she was no longer stuffed, only carrying a slight cough.
Their voices were low, but to them, they were as clear as the day, and echoed through each other as if they were in a canyon.
Katara jumped out of bed and ran to her husband. She threw her arms around him in one of their biggest, closest hugs ever shared. The two cried, as they now had each other back in their life, after a fear of not seeing each other again.
"Katara...I was so scared...I thought I lost you and it was my fault...I didn't come for you the first time..." the Avatar said to his wife.
"It's okay, Aang. I love you no matter what. None of us could have seen this coming. I'm not going to hold this against you. You are all I need in life. And if weren't for you, I would probably not have made it all", she said.
"Further, there is better news", the elderly healer spoke. "Katara, tell him."
"Our child is safe, Aang. It will still come, healthy. We're still going to be mother and father", Katara explained, tears running down her cheek. More tears came down Aang's cheek as well, knowing their child was still on the way.
"Katara...this is fantastic. Yugoda, how did this happen?"
Yugoda explained, "I'm not sure. Very few of the cases of this disease I've seen healed overnight. I guess someone was just watching out for you, Avatar."
"Yue...the spirit of the Moon..." Aang whispered quietly.
"We will just need to keep her for the remainder of the day and night for observation. As long as she doesn't relapse, she will be able to come home with you tomorrow morning", Yugoda explained.
"It's all okay, Yugoda. As long as she is fine, I'm fine", Aang said.
Katara and Aang hugged each other one more time. The two still didn't want to kiss because of the chance of the germs spreading. Aang returned home. Before that, he gave the news to Sokka and Suki, who were thrilled for them both. The two also had their chance to visit her.
07:00, 24 November
The next morning, no further issues were present with Katara. Aang, Sokka and Suki all made their way to the healing ward to meet her.
Katara was no longer sick. The remaining cures got rid of what was left of the sickness she had. With that now done, she ran up to her husband and hugged and kissed him.
"Katara, I've missed that", Aang slightly jokes.
"Don't worry, there will be more of that again, from now on", his wife replies.
"Ah, lovers", Sokka said. "Yep...isn't that the truth", Suki followed. "Just like us."
Katara gave her brother and his wife a hug as well. They all headed out to finish Katara's release from the healing hut.
"Avatar Aang, Katara, I am so glad for both of you. Katara, your baby should come on schedule, as it is. This will not set the delivery back", Yugoda said as they all exited.
"Yugoda, this could not have been done with all your help, along with your nurses." Aang thanked Yugoda for her service.
"You were definitely being watched over. I think you owe the spirits, here", Yugoda said.
20:00, Aang and Katara's house
The two were back home, their normal bed restored to them. Aang and Katara were snuggling on the couch, holding each other close. The moon shone in on the husband and wife. Aang looked out to the moonlight, and whispered "Thank you", paying his thankful debt to the Moon Spirit for saving his wife's life.
"Aang, we are soon-to-be parents. I know this will make life harder, and we may not be able to do this much more", Katara said.
"That doesn't matter to me, Katara. I'm thankful we have the child still coming. A child is a new life to bring into the world. We have become the makers of life. And we need to make sure the new life is brought up the right way. Katara, 2 days ago, we weren't sure this life would come. We need to be thankful. We have it. And I still have you. It's all I need."
A tear dropped from each of Katara's eyes. "Aang...I love you so much."
The two hugged and kissed.
They weathered the storm.
Their child was on its way.
Aang and Katara have been married. After a few years of their marriage, Katara becomes pregnant. However, three months before the delivery, a problem arises. It all started on a casual cold morning at the Southern Water Tribe. Aang was off fishing with Sokka and Katara was sitting by herself in her and Aang's bedroom. She had made an effort to learn all songs and melodies for kids of their Tribe. She also had spent a lot of time learning to cook children's meals and clean up quickly. As her goal, she wanted to be the best mother that ever was. She didn't want her child to feel like it didn't have a mother. Now she was knitting tiny blue socks for the baby and singing a traditional Water Tribe song, while trying to think of names for a baby boy.
"'Pakku'... yes, it would be traditional giving it a name that runs in the family... Although I think dad would prefer 'Hakoda'..." a knock on the door interrupted her thoughts.
"Katara! Katara, it's an urgent! Take Aang! We are going to the Northern Water Tribe!" her step-mother, Hanna, rushed in the room. Katara felt a tear trying to escape from her eye. This should be her real mother, rushing in and calling for her. She didn't need a step-mother, and she had told Hakoda. She could remember the pain in his voice as he answered, the day of his wedding, when she had run into his room, tears rolling down her cheeks, asking him not to get married. He had told her that the baby would need a grandmother... "Don't be ego-centric, Katara, think of your child" "Kanna is the only grand-mother I will allow my child to have!" she had yelled and zoomed out of the room. Katara forced herself to look at Hanna and smile.
"What is it, Hanna? If it is Kanna wanting us to go bring her here, tell her that we have plenty of time to pick them up from the Northern Tribe before the baby's born."
"It's... it's not that. We'd better discuss it after Aang's back from fishing." Hanna was avoiding the subject, hopping she would have some support from Aang when she announced it. Suddenly, Aang walked in the room, carrying a net full of fish. He left it on the floor and greeted them.
"Hello, my lovely ladies! I'm back! How are you, Katara?" he asked, planting a kiss on his wife's cheek.
"I'm fine, dear. The baby's growing. Hanna was just about to tell me something, but she wanted to wait for you first. Good thing you came right away, huh?"
"Yeah, what a pleasant coincidence!" Hanna exclaimed, sounding far more pleased than she normally would. "You know what, I think it would be better if we arrived at the North Pole and I told you afterwards." Hanna had a reason to try to cancel the announcing of the news for as long as possible. She already knew Katara was, for a random reason, accusing her for Kya's death, just because she was taking her place. And Hanna was sure that the fact it would be her to tell her these news wouldn't help their relationship.
"Would it be safe for Katara to travel in her situation?" Aang asked, looking at Katara's big stomach. She had just four months till the delivery. Aang couldn't believe he would be a father in less than half a year. He never had a father, and he didn't know how he should act. Also, he couldn't believe this big baby growing in Katara's body all that time would have to come out... somehow. And of course Sokka had made matters worse by telling him many frightening stories about babies that killed their mothers during labour or... anyway, Aang had convinced himself that Sokka was just trying to scare him.
"Of course it would. We will make a quick journey; we should be there within the month... Hakoda will come, as well. Actually, the whole village is coming."
"Really? Why? It must be big! Is it a marriage? That would be so nice!" Katara was up, already packing. She had just put her dresses in a backpack and was searching for Aang's monk outfit.
"Eer... You'll see. Now, we are leaving tomorrow, is that okay?"
"Yes. Now, where did I put your monk robes, Aang?"
"Dear, don't move that fast it might hurt the baby."
"Pff... Aang, you are so annoying sometimes."
"Every good father acts this way. Aang will be perfect." Hanna said and exited the room.
"Aang, will you help me pack?" Katara said and went to the bathroom.
"Here we are! It hasn't changed one bit! I can't wait to see Kanna and Pakku! It's been so long since we last met them!" Katara was jumping up and down with joy, overlooking the Northern Tribe's entrance from the ship's outer deck.
"Katara, could you try and not jump up and down for one minute, please?" Aang laughed. "You're giving birth in three months remember? You and the baby are vulnerable."
"Oh, relax, Mr Over-Protective." Katara says and squeezed her husband's nose.
"We are here!" someone yelled and they all started moving to the exits. As they passed near Hakoda and Hanna, they heard Hakoda telling her: "Haven't you told her yet? And what will her reaction be when we arrive?"
Aang and Katara took a boat alone and asked the driver to take them to Pakku's house.
"Shouldn't we wait for Hanna and your father?"
"It doesn't matter. Let's go surprise Pakku. He'll be glad to see us." Katara tried to smile. She was now sure that the news Hanna wanted to say where really, really bad. She was after some answers. After about twenty minutes, they arrived at Pakku's luxury house. It was made of ice, and there were scratches on the walls, showing people performing the Octopus Form and other difficult Waterbending forms. Katara couldn't help but notice that all of them where men. Typical Pakku, she thought. They knocked on the door and after a few moments Pakku opened the door. He had changed. His outfit was the same, but it was unwashed and it was obvious he had been wearing it for several days. His hair needed combing and washing. His tired eyes met Katara's and he started sobbing.
"My dear Katara, you must be devastated." He said and hugged her. "And you too, Aang. Only a few months before the delivery... What a tragedy... Please, come in for a hot cup of tea and some biscuits." They walked in the house. There were some broken glasses on the floor and, on a low table, a picture of Kanna and a cup of tea. Pakku placed three pillows around the table and came back with a tea pot, two more cups and a plate with biscuits. They sat and Aang looked directly at Pakku.
"We are sorry; Pakku, but we have no idea what you are talking about." He told him.
"You mean... you don't know?"
"What should we know, Pakku?" Katara asked, looking angry.
After about two weeks, they were back at the Southern Water Tribe. They had arrived at the North Pole just one day before the funeral and afterwards Katara insisted that they took the fastest ship possible. Katara was awkwardly quiet. She hadn't said one word during the journey and she would not response to any of Aang's attempts to start a conversation. It is like she is... gone, Aang was thinking. He could see all those terrible moments in the past when he thought he had lost her forever, and they were real now. Aang, feeling alone, was having imaginary conversations with Gyatso, the only father he had ever met. But Katara was busy. She was making a plan. All the way from the North to the South Pole, Katara was thinking about her mother's death, about her father's marriage to Hanna and about Kanna's death. She was now completely alone. Kanna, the one she would turn for help as if she was her own mother, was now gone. Everything was clear for her now. It was not Hanna's fault her mother was gone. It was someone else's. Katara needed to redeem herself. She had let her mother down. The only way she thought she could correct that was finishing what she had once started. She would find the leader of the Southern Raiders and take him down. Two lonely hearts, each one hurt in a different way, both searching for love that once was but now was lost. Only one thing was bonding them now: an all-new life, ready to come to this world. But did anyone of them mind any more?
"Hanna! Pakku! Help!" Aang rushed out of the house, really worried.
"What happened, dear?" Hanna came out of her house in a nightgown.
"Katara... she is gone! I woke up this morning and didn't find her in bed. She is not in the house, nowhere in the village, I even searched the North Icebergs! She is nowhere to be found!"
"Aang, relax, she must have left for fishing or something." Pakku told him, exiting his house.
"I know she is not here. I can feel it. And I know one person that can tell me where she is." After three hours, Aang was flying above the Fire Lord's palace on Appa. They landed and Aang knocked on the door. A Fire Nation soldier opened the door.
"I need to see Fire Lord Zuko. It is an emergency."
"Avatar Aang! What a pleasant surprise. Please, enter." Aang walked quickly inside, paying little attention to his surroundings. He arrived at the throne room and opened the door.
"Aang! Good to see you, buddy! It's been ages! How's the baby?"
"Actually, that's what I came for, Zuko. Katara and the baby are gone. We have no idea where they might be." Aang explained to Zuko the whole situation, starting from Kanna's death. "And I came to you, Zuko, because sometimes you seem to know her better than me."
"My guess is... she is after the Southern Raiders."
"What? But... why? How?"
"I can't really understand... but, judging from the time she's been pregnant, I'd hurry if I were you. I'm coming as well."
"No. Zuko... this is something I feel I have to do alone."
"I can totally understand. Wish you luck."
"Thanks Zuko, you have been great help" and with this, Aang left the room running, exited the palace and jumped on Appa.
It had been so long. So long since he last saw her again. According to his calculations, Katara was know eight months pregnant. He was worried. Would he find her in time or would it be too late? And now there she was. Her stomach was enormous, and Aang was surprised she could move. She had found the leader of the Southern Raiders. She was standing in front of her enemy, her eyes sparkling, her hands raised, ready to attack. Appa flew towards her, and Aang yelled.
"Katara! Stop! You don't have to do this!"
"Aang... don't. Go. You don't understand, you never did."
"But I do, Katara, I do! You think you are the only one who has lost a loved person? Think, Katara, stop this madness and think!" Everything flashed through her mind. Aang, just hours after he was freed from the iceberg, looking at her, not knowing what the War was, thinking he would find everyone home if he returned at the Air Temples. Aang, in front of Gyatso's skeleton, entering the Avatar State in an explosion of rage and pain. The storm inside her calmed. The waves of pain, the flashes of hurt feelings stopped. She was not alone. Aang, like a warm sun, was lighting her path. She climbed on Appa's saddle, not even looking at her rival, who was staring at her, scared to death. She hugged Aang. And at that moment, they both knew they were home.
Sirius 13 (Winner)
Aang watched, dumbstruck, as Miko, the healer, delivered her terrible news. "What do you mean I have to choose between Katara and the baby?" he demanded in a harsh tone.
"Well, Avatar Aang," Miko hesitantly relayed, "unfortunately, your wife's pelvis is far too narrow to accommodate natural child birth."
"What does that mean?" Aang asked, frustrated that he couldn't quite understand medical terms. Katara would know what she's talking about, he thought dismally.
"It means that the hole her baby would emerge from is too small an opening," the healer reiterated in an impatient tone. "You have two choices."
"I know that!" Aang snapped, thinking it was a good thing he had mastered the Avatar State a long time ago. "I have to choose either Katara or our child." He bit his lip anxiously, trying to maintain dignity in front of Miko, who was appraising him sympathetically.
"Those aren't exactly your choices, Avatar," she said patiently. "We can either abort your wife's pregnancy to save her, or we can perform a procedure that would enable a birth. However, the procedure would cause Katara to lose more blood than is good for her; there would be a very slim chance she would survive something like that."
Aang put his face in his hands, finally allowing himself to break down. Why? He thought morosely. Have I not done enough for the world to revel in the happiness of having a family? Aang held Katara's hand as the head healer, Pika, relayed the information that Miko had given Aang. Katara sobbed unashamedly virtually the entire time the healer spoke.
"I'm sorry, Katara," said Pika while patting Katara's shoulder. "I'll leave you and your husband to make your decision."
With that, Pika departed from the room, leaving Aang stroking his wife's hair tenderly as she continued to shake with despondency.
Finally, Katara looked up, her eyes rimmed red and her brow furrowed with worry lines. "Oh, Aang, what are we going to do?" she intimated, her voice full of distress.
Aang sat beside her, feeling suddenly hopeless and exhausted. "We need to weigh our options," he told her, trying to sound like the confident young Avatar he was not.
Katara's eyes suddenly lit up with anger at his words. "Aang, this isn't a diplomatic issue between the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom," she snarled fiercely. "This is a matter of life and death that hits close to home." She prodded his chest with her index finger to further illuminate her statement.
"You're right, Katara," said Aang without hesitation. "Of course it's different than a spat between King Kuei and Zuko."
"And it's far more important," Katara said with no less ferocity than before. She crossed her arms stubbornly. "Aang, I need you to do something for me."
"Anything, Katara," the Avatar said with some desperation. He gazed at her face, feeling the love of thousands of lives flood his spirit. He would do anything for her. . .
"Please give me up to let our baby live."
Anything but that.
"Katara, no!" Aang exclaimed, his voice livid with pain. "I can't do that!"
"Please, Aang," said Katara. "For me?"
As her eyes gazed at him pleadingly, her selflessness threatened to smother Aang. He had no intention of even considering her death for the life of someone that had not yet lived, but he was being forced to entertain the notion by the one he loved most in the world.
No. Katara was his world, and without her, there would be nothing left for him.
Katara, as usual, seemed to sense the stormy thoughts within his mind. "Aang, listen, your child will need a father," she told him urgently.
"My child shouldn't have to replace its mother," Aang retorted coldly.
Hurt showed on Katara's face, but it was quickly replaced by frustration. "Aang, don't be so selfish!" she denounced. Her tone then softened: "I know you love me, Aang, but we should give our baby a chance to live. I've already had twenty-five good years to my record, full of many experiences that most don't have in their entire lifetimes."
"Katara, I don't want to lose you. . ."
"You won't, Aang," Katara said, smiling slightly. "When I die, I'll still be with you. Always, in here." She placed her palm directly over her husband's heart and felt its beat slow as he calmed.
"I'm scared, Katara," Aang admitted, depressed as he internally acquiesced to her demand.
"I know, Aang" Katara whispered. She wrapped her arms around Aang, embracing him as tears once more emerged from her eyes. "I'm afraid too." Aang paced anxiously outside of Katara's laboring room. It was barely three months after initially receiving the devastating news that either Katara or their child would survive delivery. He listened to the rhythmic sound of his footsteps, attempting to clear his mind of all his worried thoughts, something he had failed in doing for the past three months. Anxiety and dread had plagued his entire being ever since Katara had received her death sentence.
The door opened softly and Pika poked her head out. "Avatar Aang," she said somberly, "we're about to begin the procedure."
Aang jolted out of his reverie, surprised to find that he had momentarily forgotten his troubles. However, they all came cascading back as he followed Pika into the delivery room.
His eyes widened in horror as he saw his beloved Katara lying on the operating table. Her pupils were dilated and rather panicky, and she panted heavily, her chest heaving with every inhalation. Her stomach protruded as an elderly healer placed a watery hand gently on it.
"Katara, dear," said the healer kindly, "your child is in perfect health."
But Katara isn't, Aang thought with mingling feelings of anger and depression.
"Good," said Katara, her pained smile not masking the dread in her eyes. She was about to die, and she knew it.
"Avatar Aang," Pika said cautiously, "if you don't want to see the operation—"
"I'm staying," Aang interrupted harshly. "She might need me."
"As you wish, Avatar."
Aang ignored her and instead approached Katara, who looked at him with glazed eyes. "It'll be okay, Aang," she said through gritted teeth.
"You're a liar, Katara," Aang said with little emotion.
"Are you ready, Katara?" Pika asked as she held a large, evil-looking knife in her hand.
Katara nodded, although fear still showed on her face. She kept her eyes open through the dreadful, painful ordeal, although Aang looked away, frustrated that he could do nothing to help. She did not scream or yell, but she whimpered, an action uncharacteristic of the mighty Katara. Aang's heart broke just to hear the sound.
After a long, agonizing time period, Aang finally turned to see three different healers attempting to seal the new wound on his wife's bloody stomach.
Another healer spoke. "Congratulations, Avatar Aang and Katara," she said as she held up a wrinkly pink creature wrapped in a thick blanket. "You have a son."
Aang paid the healer no mind; he had eyes only for Katara, and at the moment, he loathed the thing that had killed her, even if it was a part of him.
But Katara wasn't dead yet. As Aang clutched her hand, he looked into her somewhat vacant azure eyes. Her eyelids then shut and her lips twitched slightly, whether in discomfort or even relief he could not tell. He sighed and rubbed her palm with his thumb, flinching when her hand responded to the stimulus, clinging to the hope that she was still alive.
His Katara was still breathing as the healers worked over her, their watery hands glowing blue as the healing did its job. A sigh escaped her nose, and her eyelids fluttered open. Her mouth curled into a weak smile, and this time, it lit up her whole face.
Aang grinned suddenly, realizing that a miracle had just occurred. Thank the spirits, he thought to himself. Even the healers appeared utterly astounded.
"Avatar Aang, would you like to hold your son?" Pika asked nervously, still aware that he was still tense.
Aang started, emerging from a stupor that he had not known he was in. He then turned to face Pika, rather reluctant to turn his gaze from his still-alive wife, and he finally saw the true beauty of the last three months' events. All of the anxiety, fear, dread, and solemnity had boiled down to the beginning of the life of a child so divine he could hardly believe it was real.
Aang blinked, realizing he had once more slipped into a reverie. He glanced at Katara, whose smile was much brighter than before, and told Pika, "The mother should be the first to hold her child."
Katara's lips widened even further with pleasure at his words, and she stretched out her arms receptively, feeling the full effects of the rejuvenating of the healers' work. Pika gently placed the baby boy in her arms, and Katara looked into his face lovingly, adoringly, exaltingly.
Aang came to stand behind Katara, the better to see both her and their newborn son. He looked deep into the face of the tiny infant, and he reached out to tenderly touch his button nose.
"He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," Katara sighed contentedly.
"He's only the second most beautiful thing I've ever seen," Aang contradicted with a slightly suggestive tone.
Katara turned to give him a sharp glance, but Aang barely noticed as he saw their son open his eyes and give him a piercing, bright blue glare, then, he closed his eyes, falling once more into sleep. The baby's orbits were the precise shade of Katara's!
"I changed my mind," Aang said. "He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
"That's what I thought," Katara said, clearly satisfied with his statement as she returned her gaze to her son.
"I don't regret having him," Aang commented mildly, his shock at Katara' survival finally beginning to subside to be replaced by relief.
"Neither do I," said Katara. "What should we name him?"
Aang thought long and hard about a potentially suitable name for his and Katara's newborn son. At last, he replied, "Let's name him Tenzin."
Katara smiled even wider. "Why?" she inquired curiously.
"He reminds me of Monk Gyatso," Aang responded.
"Already?" Katara asked incredulously.
"Yes," said Aang as he patted the fuzzy dark brown hair on his son's round head. The baby cooed in his sleep, apparently aware of his father's touch. He could sense that his son was to be a great man, much like Monk Gyatso, and that in itself was resemblance enough.
Aang was the Avatar, a figure of great power, admired by most and feared by many. He was proficient when it came to dealing with the leaders of the Four Nations, and he was confident in his ability to heal lasting damage to the world. However, the lingering threat of his wife's potential death had frightened him more than the formerly daunting task of restoring the world's balance, and the trials to come with raising a child were unknown to him.
Katara's last few months of pregnancy had been a nightmare. He could only try to imagine what the next few years would be like, but at least he now knew that Katara would be at his side.
Tears of Life
The icy tundra; a vast mass of frozen water, battered by the polar winds. A lonely figure stood atop an iceberg. The winds washed over him, but he didn't hear. His gaze travelled over the sea of white, but he didn't see. The ice slowly welcomed him as part of their cold world, but he didn't feel. He didn't care.
His mind was racing. Images of old danced before his eyes, they all blurred together.
No matter how hard the wind howled, that name couldn't be blocked.
He shouted at the top of his longs. The wind died down at his command, making way for that beloved name. It carried far over the frozen land.
No, not again.
His mind pulled him in. Image after image, memory after memory. He shook his head, but he couldn't lose that feeling. A tear rolled over his face, but it never reached the end, it froze in the middle of its path down the cheek.
Would it be like this? Was his baby like this tear? Halted, stopped, taken away from him before he could even feel it?
He hated it. He had all the might in the world, but he couldn't do nothing...but wait.
Katara smiled at him. She pulled him along. Not knowing where they were going, not knowing why, but he didn't care. He was with her. He would always be with her. She stopped at their place, their special place. The ice sparkled with the reflection of the sun. It was like they were standing near a field of diamonds. But not one of those diamonds shone as bright as the eyes of Katara. She was excited. Why? He saw her lips move, but he didn't believe. Could it be true? She placed his hand on her belly. The warmth that filled his hearth melted the ice they were standing on. A child. His child. He couldn't believe. They hugged. They kissed. It was true. He believed.
No, not again.
The doctor looked worried. Katara was in pain. No, that couldn't be. This was not supposed to happen. He couldn't believe. It was too soon, way too soon. The healers came, but the pain stayed. Katara's pain. The baby's pain. His pain. Everything was all wrong. This wasn't supposed to happen. Not Katara. Never Katara. Not the baby. Never the baby.
A tear ran down his face again. It followed the path of its predecessor. It glided down the road of ice and reached its frozen companion. It moved on. Further down. Down, down it went. But then it stopped. Frozen again, before it could reach the end.
No, not again.
The Air Nomads appeared before him. Happy, smiling. He felt like he was home, he belonged. But when he blinked, they vanished. He couldn't bring them back. He wasn't there to save them. But now he was here, with Katara, with their child. But he still couldn't save her, couldn't save the child.
He hated it. He had all the might in the world, but he couldn't do nothing...but wait.
No, not again.
Katara clutched her enlarged belly in pain. Her face ripped right through his heart. He wanted to help, but he couldn't. He wanted to take her pain away, but he couldn't. He wanted that it was him, but it wasn't him. It was Katara. Never Katara.
The healers shoved him out of the door. He was of no use there. He stood in their way. He understood. They must save the baby. They need to save the baby. Save the mother. Save the baby.
Memories flooded his mind. He couldn't think anymore. He had stood there for hours. The winds washed over him, but he didn't hear. His gaze travelled over the sea of white, but he didn't see. The ice slowly welcomed him as part of their cold world, but he didn't feel. He didn't care.
A hand reached out to him. He turned and saw his sparkling diamonds.
He couldn't believe. She gently took his hand and placed it on her protruding belly. A heartbeat! Katara told him that everything would be fine, he heard her. Katara showed her belly again, he saw her. Katara kissed him deeply, he felt her. He cared.
Another tear made the attempt. It ran down his face.
Passed the first.
Passed the second.
Would this be it?
It kept going.
The tear reached the end of his face.
It wasn't frozen. It fell off.
Just as it should be.
Everything would be okay.
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